Monday, October 21, 2013

Game Warden Files--Not Really Game Warden Work

Since, as ECOs, we were on the road at odd hours of the night and were always poking our noses into strange places, it should be no surprise that we encountered things other than EnCon Law violations.  We did get a lot of driving while intoxicated cases.

My first one was about 3 AM while coming home from a long night of working campgrounds in my neighboring sector with Jim Harnish.  We had been dealing with problems in a campground that was a hundred miles from my home and were finally headed home.  As we came through the sleepy town of Wells, we got behind a car that was weaving from guardrail to guardrail.  We lit him up to pull him over and the driver slowed the car, pulled to the right--still weaving--and motioned for us to pass him.  That's NOT what it means when the red lights come on.

Though not going fast, the driver continued his non-compliance and finally decided to get away from us.  He pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant and tried to drive around behind it.  However, the owners of the restaurant lived on the same property and the back yard was filled with lawn items.  Next thing you know, the car had met a rather substantial swing set and the hood was up in the air, the radiator steaming and the driver trying to restart his now stalled car.  While Jim called in the stop and a request for assistance from the State Police, I ran up to the car and pulled the driver out of the seat, swung him over the trunk deck of his car and put the cuffs on him all in one slick motion--after all, it's got to work right once in a while, right? The problem was that as I swung him onto the trunk deck, his abdomen struck the top of the fender and there was a sudden loud noise followed by a foul smell permeating the air; all accompanied by large stain on our drunk's pants.  You guessed, he'd lost control of his bowels.

Since this was not an EnCon case, we did the only "right" thing: we turned it over to the Troopers.  They wrapped him in an emergency blanket, stuffed him in their car and headed off to process him.  Fortunately, this was a time before smoking in state owned vehicles was prohibited and both the Troopers were pipe smokers.  You can bet that they fired up the pipes for that trip to the station.

Returning from a similar long night in the campgrounds, I was driven off the road by a car coming right at me. I managed to avoid being hit, got the car stopped and made another DWI arrest.  The driver in this case had just had his license revoked for a previous DWI.  The revocation had taken effect at midnight and here it was the wee hours of the following morning.  I processed him at Gloversville Police and went on about my business.  Though I expected a trial, the entire booking process had been recorded and the driver's attorney had asked to see the tape...he took a plea bargain as he didn't want a jury to watch the tape.

I hadn't thought much of that case until years later a young man came into a convenience store where I was drinking a cup of coffee.  He asked if he could join me and speak with me a minute.  I allowed him to do so.  "You don't remember me, do you...?" began the story.  He was the man who had run me off the road that early morning.  He thanked me for saving his life, he was sober now and had been since dealing with that arrest.  I'd like to think I'll run into him again some time and he still will be.

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